Gemstones on the Rise

Valentine’s Day is a peak season for jewelry purchases, with U.S. consumers projected to spend an unprecedented $6.4 billion on jewelry around this time, as reported by Ankur Daga, CEO of Angara. This expenditure accounts for a significant 10% of the annual total devoted to jewelry, indicating the holiday’s strong influence on the market.

This year, however, the conventional diamond engagement ring may take a smaller portion compared to more vibrant options. “We’re seeing a shift in much larger center stone engagement rings, primarily as a result of lab-grown diamonds, and sapphires and rubies tend to be very hot,” Daga noted. The trend towards colorful gemstones in engagement rings has risen from 5% a decade ago to over 15% today, with a recent small survey revealing that over 20% of individuals would opt for a colored gemstone ring over their diamond ring if given the chance.

Signet Jewelers, a major industry player, echoes this sentiment, witnessing increased interest in gemstones like sapphire and morganite across both wedding and fashion categories. The allure of amethyst and ruby, in particular, spikes during the Valentine’s period, aligning with February’s birthstone and the symbolic color of love, respectively.

Beth Gerstein, CEO of Brilliant Earth, suggests that the trend towards colored gemstones reflects a desire for uniqueness, especially among Gen Z consumers who value personalization and distinctive style. This shift is occurring amidst growing supply constraints for natural gemstones, pushing prices upwards and making some stones harder to source. “There’s only really one mine in Madagascar that produces the bulk of the world’s rubies,” Daga mentioned, highlighting similar challenges for sapphires and emeralds.

The price of sapphires, emeralds, and rubies has been climbing, with some gemstones like tourmalines experiencing price increases of up to 36% annually. This trend contrasts with the broader market movement towards lab-grown diamonds, which now account for half of the diamond engagement ring purchases.

Despite the chemical, physical, and optical similarities between lab-grown and natural gemstones, a significant majority of customers still show a preference for natural stones, largely due to their unique inclusions that add character.

Diamonds are certainly still a very popular choice and that is not likely to change. It is, however, very interesting to see this increased interest in colored gemstone jewelry.

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